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Distance Learning with the University of Surrey – Paul

Paul Butler - Surrey

Paul originally studied for a national diploma in Musical Theatre at the Arts Educational Schools, London. After working extensively, both in the UK and abroad, and starting up his own dance and cheerleading business, Paul started working part-time in a school and chiropractic clinic. In order to gain Qualified Teacher Status, Paul needed to convert his diploma into a degree. He did this by studying for a BA in Theatre at the University of Surrey’s Guildford School of Acting via distance learning.

Why did you choose to study via Distance Learning?

  • Because I was already working part-time in a school and part-time in a chiropractic clinic. By doing a degree via distance learning I did not need to give up either job.
  • I also had the financial constraints of a mortgage and other commitments.

How did you find the application process?

  • I found the application process very simple and it was very quick.

Was it easy to find useful information about distance learning?

  • I already knew about the course so for me it was easy. I used the internet to research and talked to friends who had completed the course. 

How do the fees compare to traditional courses?

  • When I had first looked it was around £2,500, but then I started in the year of the large fee hike, so it was not good news and I wasn’t impressed.
  • I couldn’t afford the time to travel to Chiswick to study on the Arts Ed course I was also interested in, which was considerably cheaper. I settled on Surrey, despite the higher price.

How did you find the experience of studying via distance learning?

  • I found it tough, exciting, rewarding, draining, empowering – all at varying stages of the course. It was a big commitment, but one which I was very glad for.

Anything you found more difficult when compared to traditional teaching courses?

  • Motivating yourself and staying on track as there is not the continual contact and seeing fellow students. My class were quite good at making use of the web and social media to contact each other though.

Any obvious benefits to studying via distance learning when compared to traditional teaching courses?

  • It did not affect my life in the way a traditional course would have. It was the right course for me and my goals. It's a good way to demonstrate and hone your time management skills.

Does the university support your learning well?

  • I found that it did, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.

What do you plan to do after your course?

  • I am actually in the process of negotiating teaching on a full-time basis at my current school, so it couldn’t have happened at a better and more appropriate time, having gained my QTS six months upon graduating with my degree through the ITT Assessment Only Route programme.

Do you feel that studying via distance learning will help you to achieve your ambitions?

  • Definitely. No question whatsoever about that. In fact it is already helping me to do this, and it’s not even seven months since I graduated.

More about distance learning.